Disturbed delivers on every level with ‘Asylum’

Chicago rock quartet Disturbed is back with a vengeance with their fifth studio album, “Asylum,” released Aug. 31.

The CD kicks off with “Remnants,” a surprisingly beautiful instrumental track that leads up to, and blends seamlessly into, title track “Asylum.”

Here, Disturbed fans are reunited with lead singer David Draiman’s familiar, scratchy vocals and master storytelling.

Metaphorical madhouses aside, “Asylum” tells — in less than five minutes — the story of a man grieving for his wife.

Few bands could mingle such heartbreaking subject matter with instrumentals worthy of some serious head-banging and make it a hit, yet Disturbed does so flawlessly.

A few tracks later, first studio single and chart-topper “Another Way to Die” references global warming and the recent oil spill disaster as warnings to change our wasteful, greedy ways before it’s too late and our Earth is permanently damaged.

The thought-provoking lyrics, powerful vocals and memorable guitar riffs of “Another Way to Die” fuse together perfectly, making it a stand-out among the endless stream of songs about sex, drugs and violence on the radio today.

Draiman touches upon his Jewish roots on the next track, “Never Again,” which alludes to the horrors of the Holocaust with a heartfelt plea to civilization: never let it happen again.

The album takes a turn to the fantastical with “The Animal,” a markedly slower track told from the point of view of a werewolf struggling with his humanity.

Both lyrically and vocally, “The Animal” is among the album’s best tracks, and is poised for success amidst the recent vampire and werewolf craze.

“Asylum” comes to a close with something a little different: a remake of the U2’s 1978 hit single “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

Such a slow, harmonious tune sounds foreign on Draiman’s tongue, yet he manages to make it work.

It’s far from perfect, but it’s the most valiant attempt at a classic a hard rock band could ever make.

“Asylum” is undoubtedly the strongest album of Disturbed’s decade-long career.

The band has only gotten better with time, finding their stride and never straying from their origins.

Every track on the CD is teeming with verses that actually mean something, rather than a bunch of hollow words strung together and set to music.

Partnered with Draiman’s signature growls and a few unforgettable guitar riffs, “Asylum” is a smorgasbord of musical gold.

Even if you’ve never considered yourself a fan of Disturbed, “Asylum” will change that.

Rating: A

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